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Go Meatless on Mondays: The Benefits of a Diet Low in Meat

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Sometimes I wish I was a vegan. Unfortunately, my carnivorous culture, steak-loving husband, and voracious taste buds won't permit me to fully forgo meat products. In honor of my meatless dreams, I've made the personal choice to simply eat less meat. As someone who's constantly struggled with weight, I often resort to a not-so-healthy high-protein, low carb diet filled with a lot of meat to shed unwanted pounds. After years of yo-yoing, I've decided to try a new diet plan focused simply and purely on being balanced and healthy. In my research on the keystones of a nutritious diet, I've noticed one common theme: less meat equals more health.

Meatless Monday is a national movement endorsed by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Ellen Degeneres encouraging Americans to kick-start their weeks by going vegetarian. The initiative is led by the non-profit organization The Monday Campaign in partner with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their claim: "By cutting out meat once a week, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint, and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change."

Why, you ask, should I go meatless?

According to meatlessmonday.com, the benefits of cutting down your meat intake are plentiful, and pretty darn astounding:

Cancer Reduction: There has been a tremendous amount of research that indicates that those who eat a diet high in fruits and veggies are at less risk for developing cancer. Similarly, high-level consumption of red meat and processed meat have been linked to cases of colon cancer.

Sayonara Diabetes: Studies show that the more red and processed meat you consume, the greater your risk is for developing type 2 diabetes.

Weigh Less: Those who eat less meat have lower BMIs and a lower overall weight than those who don't.

Live Longer: Studies have proven that higher levels of meat intake are associated with an increase in overall mortality.

For many of us Americans who think "meat first" when planning our meals, here are a few easy switches:

Salads: Instead of opting for steak or chicken in your salad, choose tofu or tempeh. Instead of topping it with bacon bits, opt for nuts and seeds.

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EmpowHER Guest

I am afraid I'll have to differ with this article. I went from eating an unhealthy diet high in whole grains, low fat, etc, and it was killing me. I've switched to eating a Paleo diet which includes lots of the meats you demonize. The information given in this article stems from a lot of really bad research thats been done over the years which we are finding out now is just bunk. I'd suggest everyone, including the author, read Gary Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories". I think it is ironic that the author even says she has used a low carb, high protein diet to get healthy, then slams that same diet. Another good resource is the Weston Price foundation. Dr Price studied many indigenous hunter gatherer populations to try to figure out why they didn't suffer from the so called diseases of civilization. If the bunk studies the author sites (without a reference for the reader to confirm) would suggest that these meat eating hunter gatherers should all be keeling over with colon cancer. But the exact opposite is true. In one of these bunk studies, careful reading will show you that they would consider pizza to be a "meat" if it had any meat toppings! Folks, it's not the meat that is giving people cancer, it's all the carbs and glucose, and yes the "healthy whole grain" ones too.

The "Conventional Wisdom" advice like the author (I'm sure well intentioned) gives is quite simply killing us. Americans have drank the cool aid, are eating lower fat, less cholesterol and guess what, it's not working, we are getting fatter and sicker. For instance, the beans she insists you replace healthy proteins from meat with are full of lectins and anti nutrients, not to mention lots of carbs which will bump up your insulin levels and just make you fat. What we need to do instead of eating processed grains, sugars, legumes, etc. is to start eating more like our ancestors ate and our bodies are evolved to eat. That includes lean meats, from a pastured source not a feed lot, fresh veggies, some fruits seasonally and perhaps some starchy vegetables like tubers if you aren't trying to lean out.

March 30, 2011 - 9:43am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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